Woody Guthrie would be proud of the Port of Camas-Washougal’s Development Plan

Author: Carly Schaefer Published: April 5, 2017

Composed by Woody Guthrie and adopted in 1987 as Washington’s official state folk song, “Roll On, Columbia, Roll On” paints a poetic picture of the river cutting through green douglas firs and of the “mighty men” who worked on the river, “matching their strength ‘gainst the river’s wild flight.”

As explained in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce’s March 29, 2017 article, “Columbia River would be ‘crown jewel’ of 40-acre development in Washougal”, The Port of Camas-Washougal and real estate firm Killian Pacific’s development plan for a 40-acre site along the Columbia River brings to mind the famous song with its mix of both recreational and job creation opportunities.

MFA is honored to have played a key role in redevelopment and remediation of the Washougal waterfront. While assisting the Port of Camas-Washougal in conceptual planning for the waterfront, we designed and implemented a community engagement process that involved diverse stakeholders to define the pillars of successful redevelopment:

  • Engage the waterfront as a public amenity and economic asset
  • Respect the site’s history
  • Create a compatible mix of commercial, retail, and residential uses,
  • Resolve legacy environmental concerns


The property’s redevelopment potential was constrained by legacy environmental impacts of a former lumber mill. MFA developed a cost effective approach to determine the extent of impact and to address them in a way that prepared the site for redevelopment. MFA also oversaw the environmental cleanup work and helped the port secure a state grant to fund 90 percent of the site cleanup costs.

With construction projected to begin in the next 12 to 18 months, don’t be surprised if you hear people working on the riverfront site humming this famous chorus:

Roll on, Columbia, roll on

Roll on, Columbia, roll on

Your power is turning our darkness to dawn

So roll on, Columbia, roll on